This sporting life

During the first phase of the war – an endless civil war which seems to gratify more people than it upsets – the clashes were led by the psiloi, the lightly armed troops (in the olden days they were known as slingers, javelin throwers, and stone throwers; today they are merely called «fans») who acted in accordance with the traditional tactics of guerrilla warfare, that is ambush followed by a quick escape. The second phase of the war saw the personal involvement of military generals, who inflamed popular feeling with fiery speeches and generous helpings of fanaticism – a strong, almost unstoppable power-enhancing drug. In the last battle, at the Peace and Violence Stadium, the phalanxes, made up of authentic warriors, native as well as mercenaries (French, Serbs, Germans, Americans), paid due deference to the military technique of pushing and then breaching the enemy line before finally encircling it. Paradoxically, the victorious army was the one that suffered the heaviest losses. The day after the decisive battle, neutral observers (politicians and sports officials) protested vehemently over the resulting mess, while the historians who undertook to praise and immortalize the heroes agreed that it was impossible to agree on anything, not even when the final battle took place. Half of those preachers of hatred deified the winners, while the other half denounced them as dishonest and unworthy. «Praise!» and «Shame!» as well as «Hosannah!» and «Alas!» were all heard at the same time. Thus the war did not finish this time round. The summer break will give generals and troops a chance to rest, update their arsenals, and recruit new mercenaries. Afterward, they will come down, fully armed, to defend their ancestral lands or alien interests. But before starting their preparations, they will hold a blessing ceremony. For in this country, we respect God and tradition.